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Perth Scorchers, Melbourne Stars eye BBL final spot

Mitchell Johnson is set to resume his rivalry against Kevin Pietersen
Mitchell Johnson is set to resume his rivalry against Kevin Pietersen

1st Semi-Final - Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars
24th January, Big Bash League, WACA

The Big Bash League enters the first semi-final stage where Perth Scorchers host Melbourne Stars at WACA on Tuesday.

This will be the fifth time across the six seasons, these two teams will meet in a knock-out game with Perth Scorchers winning four of it but it was Melbourne Stars, who emerged victorious in the previous season to progress to the finals.

A resounding seven-wicket win in their final league game against Hobart Hurricanes where they chased 135 in just 13.5 overs helped Perth Scorchers end second in the table and more importantly secure a vital home semi-final. The demotion of Shaun Marsh to number three worked in their favours after he scored a blistering half-century, his first this season, to guide the team in the chase. Adam Voges' return from injury is also a relief for Scorchers and they will be hoping for Michael Klinger to produce the goods once again opening the batting.

Mitchell Johnson has been phenomenal with the new ball, more so after David Willey left for the national duty. He has the much needed support of their latest recruit Tim Bresnan and a reliable Andrew Tye, who has nine wickets from eight games. They will be once again banking on their bowling to restrict the star-studded batting line-up of Melbourne Stars.

Melbourne Stars started the tournament on a disappointing fashion but later on picked up momentum and looked the favourites to seal the top two spots but a stumble at the end pegged them to the fourth spot. They lost their previous two encounters to Brisbane Heat and then Sydney Sixers but the presence of international stars in their line-up can be intimidating for their opponents.

Kevin Pietersen with 263 runs has been their in-form player while Rob Quiney has amassed 227 runs from six matches and along with Luke Wright, who has 262 runs, they form the core of the batting in the absence of Glenn Maxwell. Marcus Stoinis has been released by the Australian team management to join the Stars for the crucial clash.

Face to Face:

Both teams have played each other 10 times with Perth Scorchers winning six of it and the remaining four has been clinched by Melbourne Stars. They have also been part of four semi-finals clash before with Scorchers still holding advantage winning three of it. However, the head to head record at WACA has been 3-3.

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